Tangipahoa Parish officials have issued a recommended evacuation and opened an emergency shelter for residents to wait out Tropical Storm Barry.
[Update, 10 a.m. Saturday: Barry has been upgraded to a hurricane.]
Parish President Robby Miller said a shelter at the Hammond Westside Montessori School opened Thursday night, and as of early Friday afternoon two people were occupying the facility.
Miller also issued a recommended evacuation for the southernmost part of the parish, south of La. Highway 22. The area between that highway and Lake Maurepas and Lake Pontchartrain is prone to heavy flooding, he said.
"The weather's beautiful now and some people think they're just being overly cautious, but the way this track is, we're on the wrong side of the hurricane," he said. "The rain side, the storm surge side, and even if it moves a little bit over in the next day, we're still in the part that gets hit."
That southern area of the parish saw catastrophic flooding in March and August of 2016. There's the chance the Tangipahoa River could back up towards homes, and while the surrounding lakes are not at alarming water levels, there are many unknowns, Miller said.
"There's a lot of capacity to hold but they're also predicting a lot of rain, so we don't know," he said.
Tropical Storm Barry has reawakened fears that the median barriers on Interstate 12 could worsen any flooding in Livingston Parish, a scenario…
Anyone choosing to use the shelter, which is located at 2600 Westpark Avenue in Hammond, should bring necessary toiletries, medications, baby supplies and clothing for the duration of the storm.